The Pittsburgh Steelers had an unexpected opening on their 16-man practice squad for Week 16. On Tuesday, it was reported that the Atlanta Falcons signed outside linebacker David Anenih off of the Steelers practice squad to their 53-man roster.
With an open practice squad spot, particularly at outside linebacker, the Steelers signed defensive end Mika Tafua on Wednesday.
Undrafted out of the University of Utah in the 2022 NFL draft, Tafua signed with the Dallas Cowboys. Appearing in all three preseason games, Tafua played 111 snaps where he had two tackles, two batted passes, one sack, and four quarterback hurries according to Pro Football Focus. Failing to make the Cowboys 53-man roster, Tafua signed to their practice squad ahead of Week 1. Released five days later, Tafua came back to the practice squad of the Cowboys later in September until he was released in mid November. In his final season for Utah, Tafua had 48 tackles, 13 of which were for loss, and 9.5 sacks.
As for the loss of David Anenih, the Steelers signed him to their 53-man roster off the Tennessee Titans practice squad ahead of Week 2 following the injury to T.J. Watt. Anenih spent the mandatory three weeks on the Steelers active roster but was not active for any game as the Steelers instead chose to use practice squad elevations at the position. Released after three weeks, Anenih signed back to the Steelers practice squad in early October and did not appear in any games for Pittsburgh.
Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain as the Pittsburgh Steelers continue their preparation for their Saturday night matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders amidst the tragic news of the loss of franchise-great Franco Harris.